Indy Film Fest

6Jul/130

IIFF 2013 :: MILES TO GO

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest Post by Nik Browning
Began musical blogging under myspace/facebook dev. http://redrkr.blogspot.com/  http://redrkr2.blogspot.com/ - movies.

Miles is alone, listless. He runs at night because he has trouble sleeping. We learn at his therapist's office that he’s suffering from dumper’s remorse. A break-up which he initiated because he felt trapped, but now misses his ex. He realizes his selfishness of contacting her- as he simply wants some comfort without considering a future. But the ex soon forces his hand and provides an ultimatum. Full relationship or nothing. And Miles is cornered, needing to face his fears and make a decision. Embrace the love that presents itself? Or sabotage what he sees as the inevitable?

A supporting cast are quick to enter and leave the proceedings. They seem to normalize Miles and his girlfriend, Julia. As sexually selfish as Miles is, his best friend is worse. As depressed as he can feel, his sister is worse. They all bring along a little color commentary without bringing enough baggage to weigh down the story or direct it away from the main couple. As the girlfriend, Jen McPherson plays the role as straight and sweetly as one could hope. She goes from hurt to forgiving to hopeful quite logically without being jerked around to seem unstable, like a male director is sometimes want to do.

The first thing that will come to mind when describing a film that is written by, directed by and stars the same guy… Which is about a writer with romantic commitment issues… is of course, Woody Allen. And Quincy Rose is careful not to steal that voice, but it is a clear inspiration. The dinner party scene strays from mortality discussions based on Nietzsche writings and gears more toward the philosophy of anal sex while reciting gangsta rap lyrics. This film has been likened to a long “Girls” episode as well, which is fair. But it’s crude sexuality serves the purpose of the greater story, investigating if lasting relationships can be maintained in an age where social media leaves alternative interaction with each mouse click and strip mall massage parlors are a block away.

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The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for MILES TO GO.

Wednesday, July 24 @ 1:00 in the Toby
Saturday, July 27 @ 4:30 in the DeBoest

6Jul/130

IIFF 2013 ::THEY WORE THE RED SUIT

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.

Some men devote their lives to creating peace and prosperity in the world, some devote themselves to discovering medical miracles, and some devote their lives to dressing up like Santa Clause. It sounds like a punch line, and before watching THEY WORE THE RED SUIT it was. But this documentary by Indiana filmmaker Larry Peter examines the world of Santa impersonators in a light I’ve not seen before.

Peters doesn’t set out to make these impersonators misfit men who seek solace in hiding behind big beards and even bigger bellies as they live in the fantasy of Christmas with their elves and reindeer. Instead Peters steeps these men’s actions in tradition and history; from their suits and accessories to the “Ho, Ho, Ho” of the original Santa impersonator, Jim Yellig, he gives a lineage to these men. He roots his narrative in Santa Clause, Indiana and Santa Claus Land where Yellig worked for 38 years.

Through the director’s narration and a series of interviews with these Santas we learn about the traditions and each man’s revelation about the true importance of his life’s work. While they might learn every child’s material wants, they also are the keepers of children’s less tangible wishes. They may not be able to make wishes come true, but giving each wish a place to land might be all a child needs. And the men in the red suits take that role very seriously.

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The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THEY WORE THE RED SUIT.

Wednesday, July 24 @ 6:15 in the DeBoest
Sunday, July 21 @ 4:30 in the Toby

3Jul/130

IIFF 2013 :: MEDORA

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Joe Ball
Proud Hoosier. Consumer of movies, music, art, smart jokes, tacos & bourbon.

Years ago, at the start of Indiana Pacers home games and just after the introduction of the visiting team, the arena would darken and the center court video boards illuminated a sepia-toned montage of historic Pacers games. The audio of a radio announcer calling the on-screen plays was mixed with the theme music from the movie HOOSIERS. At the culmination of the montage, just after Reggie Miller drains a signature 3-pointer over Michael Jordan, the screens flip to a blinding white background and the following quote appears:

“In 49 states it’s just basketball…but this is Indiana.”

Having grown up in Indiana, I know how true those words are. Basketball lore is woven into countless stories of our state. MEDORA, a documentary by filmmakers Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, is one such tale. Following a 2009 The New York Times article on both the town and the basketball team’s trials, the filmmakers set out to document why the team has gone decades without a winning record.

It is a story of players, products of broken homes and bad luck, who don’t dream of reaching the big stage of playing for a state championship. They dream of staying out of trouble; of reuniting with parents struggling with alcoholism; of being the first in their family to graduate high school; of maybe joining the military or possibly getting into college. They dream of winning just one basketball game.

It is also a story of what a winless basketball team can mean to a community struggling to stay alive. Nestled just south of US-50 (between Bedford and Seymour) Medora, Indiana has a population of approximately 500 people. Hard hit by the recession, factories have closed and jobs have left the impoverished farming community. With an enrollment of just 72, Medora High School is one of the smallest schools in the state. Its sports teams routinely play against those from consolidated schools, sometimes with talent pools ten-times the size of Medora’s. The city’s school system is facing a budget crisis and consolidation seems to be an option in the near future. As one resident of Medora points out, “This town will die when that school leaves.” In a town with nothing, one win could mean everything.

Yes, this is a basketball story and yes, this is Indiana. But Medora could be anywhere and its story is the story of countless small towns throughout the country. I won’t bore you with sports movie clichés to entice you to see this film. If you need one, just know that Medora is the ultimate underdog story. And a story that needs to be seen.

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The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for MEDORA. 

SPECIAL VENUE:  Friday, July 19 @ 9:30 in The Harrison Center gym
Thursday, July 25 @ 4:30 in The Toby

2Jul/130

IIFF 2013 ::AS HIGH AS THE SKY

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Melanie Woods
Comm/marketing professional, adjunct comm professor, NFL junkie - GO COLTS, art collector, proud Indy resident

In college, my roommates liked to mess with my stuff. They would rearrange my DVD collection (which was in alphabetical order) or move things around on my desk (which was always perfectly arranged). When I got home, they would see how long it would take me to notice and freak out (which was never too long).

My OCD tendencies are nothing compared to those of Maggie, the main character in AS HIGH AS THE SKY. The opening sequence quickly establishes Maggie’s routine of making sure things are where they are supposed to be. Her house is impeccable but there are hints that not everything is in place in her life. She wakes up looking embarrassed to be cuddling a pillow and quickly puts it back on the other side of the bed. The manly voice on her answering machine informs callers that “we” can’t come to the phone, but Maggie lives alone.

You can’t help but wonder what Maggie is trying to suppress. There’s clearly more to this character but writer and director Nikki Braendlin takes her time revealing the layers. This plot is somewhat of a slow burner but the payoff is worth it in the end, when you will be grateful for a dark theatre to hide the fact that you may be tearing up (which you probably will be).

Maggie’s world of order and control is disrupted when her sister Josephine and niece Hannah drop in for an unannounced visit. Maggie welcomes them into her home but is visibly anxious as they scatter their stuff around and settle in. Josephine is the polar opposite of Maggie. She’s 13 years older, loud, carefree, tattooed and smokes weed. She and her 10-year-old daughter have one of those “you and me against the world” relationships. The father isn’t in the picture but they are doing just fine without him.

It’s not clear how long it’s been since the sisters last saw each other. Their parents died in a car crash when Josephine was 17. She took off, leaving 4-year-old Maggie to be raised by her aunts. Maggie and Josephine seem awkward around each other at first and Hannah is noticeably uncomfortable with her aunt’s eccentric behavior.

Over the course of their stay, the trio breaks down their emotional barriers and finds a way to connect. There are a few moments when Maggie lets herself lose control and actually has fun with her family. And as the viewer, you’ll feel yourself relaxing and smiling along with her. The sisters share a genuine moment when Josephine apologizes for abandoning Maggie and Maggie says she never blamed her for leaving. They solidify their sisterly bond but it may be too late to matter.

“As High as the Sky” is one of those movies where you don’t know everything, but once you know what you do, you look back at various events in the film with a different perspective. It’s not a particularly unique plot but the characters are well-developed and you end up fully invested in what will happen to them at the end of the movie (which is why you should pack some Kleenex).

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The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for AS HIGH AS THE SKY. 

Saturday, July 20 @ 3:00 p.m. at The Toby
Thursday, July 25 @ 1:00 p.m. at The Toby

2Jul/130

IIFF 2013 :: THE CLEANER

Posted by Kate Pell

Guest post by Claire Brosman
Grant writer & storyteller for non-profits. Better composter than gardener. Obsessed with good food and where it comes from.

In the way of stories, what THE CLEANER offers isn’t new. Eusebio Vela is a forensic cleaner during an epidemic sweeping Lima, Peru. He is lonely. Joaquin, an orphan, enters his life. Eusebio is changed. We all know that story and have seen a life transformed on screen again and again.

But the thing is the control first-time director Adrian Saba brings to the film makes the story its own. Saba builds a world void of distractions and lets you linger in Eusebio’s life and his revelations. Dialogue is sparse, the soundtrack used sparingly and the takes are long and static. It’s beautiful to let the story unfold before you quietly and at its own pace, never compromising the story by telling too much. Really though, my screener paused mid-film and I didn’t notice anything was awry for a few seconds.

THE CLEANER is a Spanish-language film, but highlighting it as such hardly seems relevant. Dialogue doesn’t dominate the story; you’ll take in the characters’ experiences and emotions through Eusebio’s low hung head and Joaquin’s furrowed eyebrows. A rarely employed soundtrack accompanies only a few scenes drawing focus instead to the sounds of the Eusebio’s broom on the pavement as he alone washes away death in the wake of the epidemic, the swishing of his suit as he moves from job to job or the sound of his breath as he sits alone in his apartment. And by stripping everything away, this film captures the magnitude of Eusebio’s metamorphosis.

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The 2013 Indianapolis International Film Festival will take place July 18 to 28. Secure your tickets now for THE CLEANER.

Saturday, July 20 @ 4:30 p.m. in The DeBoest
Tuesday, July 23 @ 6:30 p.m. in The DeBoest
Saturday, July 27 @ 11:30 a.m. in The Toby